Jewish World Review Feb. 8, 2002 / 27 Shevat, 5762
A few thoughts on the news
DON'T ever forget that even if we were driving needles under their fingernails, the Taliban prisoners are getting better treatment than they deserve down in Guantanamo Bay. We are treating them with the kind of dignity and decency we ought to, and this is an act of the head and not the heart. Still, it's hard to keep wanting to do the right thing because these individuals are, effectively, serial murderers, and their targets are Americans. They can never be released back into the world. They deserve to be punished not only for participating in the murder of 3000 innocent people, but also for the unease (to put it mildly) with which they have infected society.
- Taliban is the plural of talib, a word meaning "student." Go figure.
- Tom Daschle has declared the economic stimulus bill dead, and won't bring it up for a vote in the Senate. It's a $77 billion package - keep that number in mind. Sen. Daschle has lately been telling us that we can't afford our tax cut. Who wants to bet that he'll have proposed spending that much or more on something else before the end of the month?
- What is wrong with the International Olympic Committee (IOC)? They want us to tone down shows of American patriotism - even though the games are being hosted by our country and are taking place only five months after September 11. 1) If the attack had been in, say, France, and the games were in France, do you think the IOC would tell the French to tone it down? Or would they hold a press conference about what a difficult and proud year it has been for France? 2) Our patriotism just now is as much about Americanism as it is about a triumph over terrorism. All civilized people should be sharing in that. 3) This is our country. When it comes to patriotism, especially just now, we'll do as we please, thanks anyway.
- The IOC has also banned the new flag of liberated Afghanistan-another wrongheaded move. Perhaps the committee's bribery scandal was less an isolated incident and more an indication of the organization's moral character.
- As quoted by CNN, attorneys for John Walker Lindh asserted that their client is "loyal to the United States and to his family" and "never fought with al Qaeda, never signed up for and never had anything to do with terrorism." Please. He's going to have to make some pretty outrageous claims to mount any sort of defense, but don't insult us by trying to portray him as being born on the Fourth of July.
- On a lighter - much, much lighter - note, there's good pop music out there, even if you're not a pop music fan. The soundtrack to the Coen Brothers' movie, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" has sold double platinum (four million copies), no mean feat in the music business. Especially for a collection of "old timey" music. And especially one that has received absolutely no airplay anywhere. "O Brother" is a smart, deep collection of American roots music that is as entertaining as it is edifying. Here's the shocker: It's up for six Grammy awards on February 27. Who says there's no quality entertainment out there?
- NBC has announced that they are switching their logo back to normal after five months of displaying it in red, white and blue. Why not? We aren't going to forget, and it's not dishonorable to take steps toward normalcy. This is a small one. Go ahead.
- The President's labeling of Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an "axis of evil" is the sort of honesty we need more of. The governments of these states are supporters of terror and oppression. When the Iranian people throw off that bizarre theocracy now in place - and they will - those who are suffering today to bring that about will remember who spoke up on their behalf, and who offered only half-measures. (It's a pretty safe bet that any given North Korean dissident liked George W. Bush's line a lot more than Madeline Albright's softening of such places to be only "states of concern.")
- Don't forget Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, still held hostage. His wife is expecting, which makes the situation even more unimaginable. Next time someone tells you that our opponents in this war have legitimate complaints that we ought to consider, remember how they have chosen to introduce them into the arena. Diplomats don't purposefully kill civilians and take hostages. Neither do soldiers. Neither do civilized human beings.
JWR contributor Michael Long is a a director of the White House Writers Group. Comment by clicking here.
02/01/02: Ready, Aim, Cloud The Issue: An irresponsible report on "terrorism" from the Brady Center
01/28/02: Discretion and Art, Part 2
01/16/02: Discretion and Art
01/08/02: Desperate Dems
12/18/01: Politics and Holidays
12/07/01: A war bigger than we know: Changing the future, slowly and surely
11/28/01: A Mid-Winter Night's Dream: A play in one fun act
11/20/01: A Lot of War Left To Fight
11/13/01: Guess who Clinton's apologizing for now: I'll bet you guessed right
11/02/01: Rules for Wartime: Rule Number One: Remember what's true
10/26/01: The Moral Case For Torture: Dirty hands don't always mean dirty souls
10/19/01: Questions for the Anti-War Crowd, Part II: What if someone took them seriously?
10/16/01: Questions for the anti-war crowd: If they question you, ask these back
10/12/01: The Jason Problem: Sometimes they only look dead
10/08/01: A little hindsight: A letter for readers in the future
09/28/01: Calling Bono: A plea to the pop culture elite to speak out
09/20/01: Encouragement from the Heartland, by mail
09/13/01: Bleeding time
09/07/01: The trailer-park taste of the public radio catalog
09/04/01: BRAVE NEW FREUD: Internet-based psychiatry may mean relief for those who have shunned
08/17/01: First Amendment: Chickens home to roost
08/10/01: PRESS RELEASE: UNREPENTANT SHARK MURDERER LOUNGES IN HOSPITAL
07/27/01: Dispatch From The Front: The Gun Control War
07/20/01: Summer song
07/03/01: It's a Wonderful Recount
© 2001, Michael Long